Sometime in the middle of this winter, when it seemed like it would be cold forever, I remembered the “Year with No Summer.” It had happened, I reminded friends over drinks. It could happen again. It seemed like a bitter joke in February. Sure, in 1816 it snowed in June in New York, but was I really that worried? Eh.
The farmers market came back to our neighborhood last week, and I began to reconsider. Where was the rhubarb? The asparagus? Usually full tables had a small selection of kale, a few remaining beets, and some ramps to tease us about the possibility of spring. It was May, but I realized that I, along with everyone else, was there in a fleece and sneakers.
Although it seems like we may have finally turned a corner (knock on wood), for a while there it looked like another year with no summer–or at least with no spring–was here. My fruit bowl looked sadder and sadder–filled with bananas and a few bedraggled oranges. I defrosted some frozen apple compote I made this fall. I finally caved and bought a lot of dried fruit. And that is how this granola was born.
Sure, an orange and prune granola seems more suitable for December than May. With a touch of cinnamon and citrus and a mixture of prunes, pecans, and figs, when you make this granola next December–because you will want to make it again–it will taste nice and seasonal and fruit cake-y. In the meantime, in this Year of the Very, Very Late Spring, you can use up your remaining oranges and clear your cabinet of dried fruit once and for all with this recipe. It’s excellent by the handful and even better on top of some yogurt with a little apple compote stirred in, especially when accompanied by a cup of milky coffee and a round of morning editing.
Orange and Prune Granola
It’s true that the basic formula I used for this granola is pretty much the same as last year’s fig and fennel granola, but I made enough adjustments and I liked the citrus/prune combo so much I thought I would share. The fig and fennel granola is still an all time favorite as well.
– 3 cups oats
– 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
– 1/2 cup pepitas
– 1 cup chopped pecans
– 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
– 2 tablespoons chia seeds
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– Zest of 4 mandarins, 2 tangerines, or one large orange
– 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
– 1/4 cup olive oil
– 1/2 cup maple syrup
– 2 egg whites
– 1 cup chopped prunes
– 1 cup chopped dried figs
* Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
* Mix together oats, seeds, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir in orange zest.
* Whisk together olive oil, maple syrup, egg whites, and orange juice.
* Fold wet ingredients into dry until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.
* Spread on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until a golden brown. After about a half hour, I start giving it a stir and scraping the bottom of the pan every 10 or so minutes so it doesn’t burn.
* Cool granola and then stir in prunes and figs.
* Store in freezer and it will stay fresh forever.